La Liga Round 35 results: Valladolid secure league status, Valencia put pressure on Real Sociedad
Miroslav Djukic's men defeated Depor to distance themselves from the bottom three, and elsewhere there were triumphs for Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna
By Martin Macdonald
Real Zaragoza missed the chance to distance themselves from the relegation zone in La Liga as they could only manage a 0-0 draw against nine-man Levante on Friday.
The visitors were coming into the match in a good run of form, having recently claimed vital victories over Mallorca and Rayo. This was in stark contrast to Juan Ignacio Martinez's men, who hadn't picked up a win in eight games.
It was the home side who looked dangerous early on, and should have took the lead when Nikos Karabelas headed at goal from close range, only to be denied by goalkeeper, Roberto.
The match burst into life shortly after the break when Papakouli Diop was given his marching orders for a dangerously high boot on Victor Rodriguez.
Zaragoza looked the more likely as the game progressed, but Levante eventually weathered the storm, despite losing another man in the latter stages when Pedro Lopez was shown a second yellow card.
ATHLETIC 2-1 MALLORCA
Nine-man Mallorca failed to haul themselves off the bottom of the Spanish Primera Division on Saturday as they went down 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao, who comfortably move nine points clear of the drop-zone.
The Basque side got off to a great start, and registered the opening goal after just eight minutes. Jon Aurtenetxe intercepted the ball in midfield and burst down the left before standing a cross into the box for Aritz Aduriz and the former Valencia made no mistake with his header past Dudu Aouate.
The task was made all the more difficult for Mallorca midway through the first half when Andreu Fontas picked up a second yellow card for handling inside the area, and Athletic were awarded a penalty. However, the visitors were let off the hook when Aouate saved Aduriz's spotkick.
The match looked to have been put beyond the islanders 11 minutes from time when Markel Susaeta got to the byline and clipped a ball to the edge of the six yard box, and Fernando Llorente twisted his body to volley home.
A nervous climax was ensured for Athletic when Giovani dos Santos curled home a superb free kick, but Mallorca were handed another blow late on when Ximo Navarro also received a second yellow card.
Marcelo Bielsa's men held on for the victory, confirming their La Liga status for next season.
REAL VALLADOLID 1-0 DEPORTIVO
Real Valladolid secured their place in the Spanish Primera Division next season with a narrow 1-0 win over Deportivo at the Jose Zorrilla on Saturday.
With so much riding on the final result, the match was an understandably cagey affair, with neither side looking particularly ambitious going forward.
The first half was a relative non-event.
The vital breakthrough eventually came four minutes after the break when Patrick Ebert curled in a corner kick and Javi Guerra displayed excellent technique to back-heel the ball into the net.
Depor nearly equalised in the second half when Bruno Gama's shot was tipped away by Jaime Jimenez, and Nelson Oliveira saw a goal ruled out for offside.
The final whistle sparked sensational scenes as Miroslav Djukic and his staff took to the field to celebrate survival with the Valladolid players.
OSASUNA 1-0 GETAFE
A solitary strike from Alejandro Arribas saw Osasuna move four points clear of the bottom three as Jose Luis Mendilibar's men ran out 1-0 winners over Getafe at Reyno de Navarra.
The hosts had failed to with a La Liga match in five attempts, but looked to be on a mission to stop the rot as they threatened early doors.
Miguel Angel Moya was called into action 20 minutes in when he had to stretch to tip away Miguel de las Cuevas' 20-yard piledriver.
Osasuna continued to threaten after the break, and came within inches of taking the lead when Kike Sola rose highest in the box to power a header at goal, only to see his attempt crash off the bar.
However, los Rojillos did eventually manage to claim the all-important goal of the match with 15 minutes remaining when Arribas headed in from Emiliano Armenteros, ensuring the home side put some daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.
RAYO 0-4 VALENCIA
Valencia provisionally moved into fourth place in La Liga thanks to a 4-0 thumping of Rayo at Vallecas on Sunday.
Both sides exchanged chance in the opening minutes of the match, but it would be the visitors who struck first 28 minutes in. Roberto Trashorras hauled Dani Parejo down in the box and Roberto Soldado dispatched the subsequent penalty.
The Valencia captain bagged his second six minutes later when he got on the end of Pablo Piatti's cross to bundle home from close range.
Los Che's continued after the break. Andres Guardado made it 3-0 after the hour mark when he followed up on his own strike to slot home the rebound after Ruben made the initial save.
The victory was rounded off in injury time when Nelson Valdez burst beyond the Rayo defence before smashing a strike into the bottom corner, keeping Ernesto Valverde's men in the hunt for Champions League football.
REAL BETIS 1-0 CELTA
Celta Vigo's bid to escape the relegation zone suffered a blow on Saturday afternoon as they lost 1-0 to Real Betis in a hard-fought clash at Benito Villamarin.
Celta had been on somewhat of a revival in recent weeks, but last week's defeat to Atletico looks to have swiftly ended the resurgence.
Both sides had opportunities to open the scoring in the first half, with the best of the bunch falling to Ruben Castro and Michael Krohn-Dehli, but both players were denied by their opposing goalkeepers.
The solitary strike of the match came midway through the second half when Francisco Chica crossed into the box and Castro showed composure to finish into the bottom corner with a right-footed strike.
Adrian and Javi Varas both pulled out superb saves in the closing minutes, ensuring it remained 1-0 to Betis, who retain there hopes of qualifying for Europe.
MALAGA 0-0 SEVILLA
Sevilla could not take advantage of holding the majority of the possession on the night as Unai Emery's men played out a fairly dour 0-0 draw with Malaga on Sunday.
Los Rojiblancos are still in the hunt for a European place in La Liga, but were unable to take advantage of Malaga's recent poor form.
Alvaro Negredo threatened first when he latched on to Alberto Moreno to shoot from inside the box, but his attempt flashed wide of the mark.
Sevilla looked dangerous particularly down the wings throughout, with Diego Perotti and Jesus Navas both providing excellent service into the box, but the likes of Negredo and Andujar Coke were unable to capitalise.
Julio Baptista went close with a free kick and Negredo and Ivan Rakitic both should have scored with headed chances, but the honours were destined to be shared in an even match.
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